Exposed! :: Where to go for help in the photo world ::

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I was stuck! A student sent me a question about a camera and I had no clue how to respond! I like to think I know a lot of stuff. But I get asked a lot of questions and sometimes need to come up with answers ... quickly.

In this month's Exposed! We look at information sources in the photo world!

The web is usually my first stop for answers but there are other sources I also tap into for information.

1. The web

DPreview — Started in 1998, Digital Photography Review is now owned by Amazon and is the go-to place for technical info and reviews on digital cameras.

Other websites I visit for important information or a fun distraction are:

Your network can be your most valuable resource

2. Retail Stores

While retail staff are in the business of selling, they can also be a great source of information on current technologies and equipment.

Used camera stores on the other hand, often have staff with brains full of information from the last century of photography. Looking for information on 4x5 equipment, affordable underwater photography, B&W developing, rangefinder cameras? A used camera store may be your answer!

If you do rely on a specific store for significant information towards a purchase please consider buying from that store! Other stores may offer lower prices but poor service and support may be reflected in that amazing price.

3. Groups of People

The opinions of colleagues and friends are usually trusted far more than all other sources! Developing your social network will help you access expert advice as well as provide expertise to others. I have made big ticket decisions based mostly on advice from colleagues and friends.

Networks can be:

Early on in my business I had a very small network but as my network grew my business grew. My network is now a valuable source of information!

4. Individual People

Individual people can have the specific information or leads that can open doors especially if you're looking for information that predates the web.

Some excellent experiences:

In the early 90's when I was considering a photo career I was in awe of accomplished photographer Pat Morrow and wanted some words of advice. I was living in Canmore and so was he. I opened the phone book and stared at his phone number for an eternity before taking a big gulp and dialing the number. He was amazing and invited me over for a couple of hours of supportive info.

Fast-forward four years when I was living in Ottawa. I got a two-week job exploring the arctic with iconic landscape photographer Malak Karsh. He was 8o years old and needed someone to drive, support and assist him on his northern trip. People ask "How did you get that job?!" Well, I had heard he was going to the arctic and I phoned him ... right out of the blue. I learned a lot about photo business from a well-established photographer.

Don't be shy but do be gracious if someone does not or cannot share their time.

Harry sharing information


Do your homework! Whatever the subject, find out what you can using the web, colleagues, resources. Don't forget to listen to your gut!

Pro Perspective

Part of my job is creating fine photos. A bigger part of my work is supporting the photo work. For that I need cameras, computers, models, good locations, service providers and support. That all starts with information gathering.

What's my most important source? A network of good people supported by the web.

Final Frame

Having access to good information can make you look good and, more importantly, help you get wherever you're going more knowledgeably!

Do your research. Take photos. Have fun.